Tree shrines have mushroomed around Singapore over the years from the jungle to industrial areas and sometimes even in the city centre or in the heart of residential areas. Trees have, eventually, become a refuge for abandoned deities figurines either recovered from the sea or left behind by individuals. The tree shrines scattered throughout Singapore offer an interesting insight to the everyday religious and cultural practices of our colourful heritage. The placement and type of shrines (e.g. Buddhist, Hindu etc.) are unique to Singapore and is a reflection of our multicultural society. Even though the tree shrines may often be ignored by the general public, they link back to more vernacular forms of our heritage and link to our cultural roots as Singaporeans. More than just religious objects, the continued presence (and disappearance) of tree shrines in our modern city-state reveal an aspect of our diverse communities (and the conflict with the state over their existence).
This project raises questions surrounding these tree shrines: How did these tree shrines come about? Who removes these tree shrines? And why are they removed?
About Chu Hao Pei
Chu Hao Pei is a visual artist born and based in Singapore. Formally trained in Interactive Media, Hao Pei began his practice under the School of Art, Design & Media (ADM) in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His artistic practice is informed by the shifting ecological, social and urban landscapes. By interweaving documentation and intervention as a strategy, he explores conflicts and tensions arising from state’s interventions on nature and culture. More critically, Hao Pei’s works examine loss, or potential loss, of nature and cultural heritage as a tactic to draw our attention to wider issues of environmental and cultural loss.
About Lee Chang Ming
Lee Chang Ming is a Singaporean photographer interested in themes of intimacy, gender identity and the everyday. His practice contemplates the subjective act of looking and the photographic medium as a process. His work has been exhibited and published widely in Singapore and internationally. He is also the founding editor of Nope Fun, an independent publisher and platform focusing on photography and contemporary image making.
About Nope Fun
Nope Fun is an independent publisher and platform based in Singapore focusing on photography and contemporary image making.